Are you “false fit”?

Most exercise professionals would agree that there are many components to fitness. A well rounded approach to fitness that addresses all of them is usually the best way to achieve lasting gains and continual progress from a program. Being deficient in even one of these components leads to slow progress and results in a condition I call “false fit”.

“False fit” is when someone perceives themselves to be fit when there are glaring holes in one of the 5 Fitness Components. While each area can cover other, more specific concepts here is a list and brief description of 5 Fitness Components you need to work on:

1. Mobility – Your ability to move freely while maintaining good posture. Also includes elements of body control and body awareness.

2. Core Strength – Your ability to properly use your core to create a strong platform around which movement is created. Emphasis is on stabilizing the lower back and mobilizing the hips and shoulder blades.

3. Power – Your ability to coordinate your muscles in order to create quick, dynamic movements. Life is dynamic and so everyone should have some sort of power training in their program, even if it is something as simple as slamming a medicine ball into the ground.

4. Strength – I define this a little differently than most. I define strength as your ability to create proper movement and maintain that proper movement under load. Creating a movement through compensation, such as using your lower back during leg exercises, is not true strength no matter how much weight you move.

5. Conditioning/ Endurance – Your ability to engage in your chosen activities without excessive fatigue. A good conditioning program will also act as a catalyst for fat loss. For most people proper conditioning should focus more on intervals than on traditional steady state aerobics.

Do you do yoga and/ or Pilates but do not work on power and conditioning?


Do you run or bike but don’t work on mobility and strength?


Do you “body build” but don’t work on mobility and conditioning?


If you answered yes to any of those questions, or if you see something on the list above that you are not addressing, then you have developed the “false fit” condition. You are fit as it pertains to the particular activities and exercises you engage in but the truth is your fitness is limited. Get you outside of your comfort zone and your true fitness levels will get quickly exposed.

Our body wants to maintain a balance between the 5 Fitness Components. When we lose that balance we slow down our progress and set ourselves up for pain and injuries. Sometimes the answer to achieving the fitness levels that you want is not in looking for different twists on what you are already doing but in looking outside your box for new elements.

I tell people all the time that if you do not want to look and/ or perform like everyone else don’t train like everyone else. Most people are dissatisfied with their current fitness condition so don’t take the same approach they do. Make sure that you work on developing true, well rounded fitness and avoid the pain and frustration that goes with being “false fit”.

-James Wilson-

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  1. walt says:

    soooooo, what do you think of crossfit and does it address any of these holes? i’m doing yoga as well. mtb + crossfit + yoga cover all bases?

    Reply • January 4 at 12:51 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Not a big fan of crossfit in general as it tends to focus too much on “work capacity” and has a history of hurting people but if you have a good trainer who is not brainwashed and just flies their flag more marketing then that may be a good combo.

      Reply • January 4 at 8:17 pm
  2. Peter says:

    Before starting this program I would have said my strength and core training were lacking. Thankfully I am working on this now. Unfortunately, injury has seen me off the bike for quite a long while so my leg strength and endurance have taken a hit. I’m working on improving these (as well as continuing my structured program) but it is diffcult with my limited capacity for riding and interval training. I’m really enjoying the program despite my current limitations. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing a mish mash of things and not improving sufficiently. Due to my injury I started with a much lower weight KB. I’m now up to 12 kg. I did think the recommended 12 kg starting weight is too high regardless. I’ve integrated the Convict conditioning program into my training (again with some limitations). I haven’t seen any improvements on the bike. In fact when I ride I feel way out of condition. I can’t stricly adgere to the program due to time constraints (young family, work) It would be great to have an MTB gym here in Australia (Perth) and get some direct feedback on progression. I’ll keep at it on my own and hopefuly be able to attend a skills clinic in the US one of these days. Thanks for the great site and resources. It has been very beneficial to my recovery process.

    Reply • January 5 at 1:36 am
  3. Matt says:

    I have discovered a lack of mobility myself since I was training to get stronger and faster, but not more flexible. This lead to a lot of imbalances in just about everything, from tight quads and hammies, creaking knees, to not having great hip mobility.

    For those is a similar situation I can’t recommend MobilityWOD enough for some great stretching techniques to become more flexible and the videos go a long way in explaining what is happening to your joints and muscles, and who doesn’t like learning new things.

    Reply • January 6 at 1:15 pm
  4. Tom says:

    Great Article. After a year of very little improvement in Mountain Biking, I have way back and am mid-way through the Insanity program. I could not believe how lacking I was in just about every area, even though I did fine on the trails on my bike. I can’t wait to finish, be in much better overall shape (the 5 listed) and start charging hard on the bike

    Reply • January 6 at 4:04 pm
  5. Jim says:

    Down on crossfit but what about P90X? I have a friend that swears by it. But I don’t know…. not buying the “muscle confusion theory” where you have to do so many different exercises “to work every muscle at every angle”. Seems like it would be better to master a few really good compound, full body exercises than to be marginal at a bunch.

    Reply • January 8 at 10:33 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Muscle Confusion is not a real training principle, it was made up by Tony Horton to sell products. You are spot on with your evaluation of P90 X – it is better to master a few things than be kind of good at a bunch.

      Reply • January 9 at 11:00 am
  6. Al Lyman says:

    Hi James, this is a GREAT post and I have to say, every time I come on over and check out your stuff, I am continually impressed with it! Your messages are right in sync with the work that we do in our gait analysis lab at Pursuit Athletic Performance, and the messages I put out there as a coach. Its really gratifying to see other coaches who are also recommending folks look first at the quality of their movement, rather than just throwing more fitness “work” on top of dysfunction or compensation. Awesome!

    I’m going to give you a shout out on my FB page, and hope you’ll head over to our blog as well, and check it out. You’re doing great, important work, James! Keep it up.

    Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

    Reply • January 12 at 5:35 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Thanks a lot for posting, very excited to check out your stuff. Always good to find like minded coaches, we should talk more and see about doing a podcast or getting an article from you on my blog.

      Reply • January 12 at 7:45 am

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James Wilson
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James Wilson